07 July, 2010


Today is a pretty sad day in my life. I am attending the last day of the highway Africa conference and I swear the time seems to moving much faster than it normally does. I keep dreading the end of the day because I know that tomorrow morning I am going to have to say goodbye to an amazing group of people. I have had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with fifteen brilliant students from a number of different institutions around the country. Sharing my space with these individuals and getting to know more about their different backgrounds is an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I can’t mention great mention the amazing people that I have met without giving a special thanks to Anele, who has made me feel so comfortable from the first day that I got here.

The Highway Africa conference has exceeded all expectations I had of it before I got here. When you think of conferences or certainly when I think of conferences I think of this boring events that make you want to sleep. The Highway Africa conference has been the opposite of that for me. Maybe it is because they are discussing issues that are close to my heart but the point is this is conference has been anything but boring.

When I sit and reflect on my experiences during the past few days I realise that I have grown as a person since I got here. This is the first time in my life that I have been exposed to people of so many different nationalities. Either than attending sessions just sitting at lunch and talking to people I have learnt so much about the African continent and the world. I seriously want to learn French after this conference. Every where I went people were speaking French.

Attending the Highway Africa conference has been both educational and inspiring for me. No other day has been quit as inspiring as today ha been for me. I attended the best presentation for me by a mile today. The presentation was done by Kambale Musavuli who is from the DRC about the conflict in the Congo. I can’t describe the high I felt after attending that session I am just so inspired do get up and do something. Before today I knew very little about the minerals exploitation and human rights abuses happening in the Congo.

Almost six million people have died in the Congo because of the conflict since 1996 and half of those are young children. That has to be the most shocking and sad thing I have ever had in my life. Why was this not reported in the media? Why do we know more about the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq than we do about the Congo when pails in comparison to what is happening in the DRC? I don’t know how much a 19year old student from South Africa with limited resources can help the people of the DRC but I will do my best to raise awareness about the situation in the DRC.

In conclusion this has been one of the best experiences of my life and I hope tom pass on the knowledge that I have gathered here to not only the student at my University but to everyone I know. The information about citizen journalism is the one that I am particularly looking forward to passing on. I think more people want to have their voices heard and have their stories told. I hope I will get the opportunity to attend another Highway Africa conference and I will keep in touch with FJP delegates and the people that I have met during the conference. Until next I am sighing out.

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